Conservation and Countryside Courses at Derby College

Keen to manage woodlands, monitor biodiversity, tackle global environmental challenges or help people enjoy the countryside? Derby College is the right environment to turn your career plans into action.

A career in the great outdoors

There are many careers which involve improving the environment for the benefit of generations to come. You could find yourself protecting landscapes, habitats and species, maintaining forests, rivers and waterways, managing public access or drawing up sustainability policies.

Derby College offers a full range of courses, including nationally recognised diplomas and apprenticeships, which will give you the practical skills, qualities and experience you need. We can also prepare you for university degrees in subjects like Wildlife Conservation and Environmental Management.

Is this you?

  • Enjoy working outside
  • Enthusiasm for the countryside, conservation and recreation issues
  • Practical and mechanical skills
  • The ability to work as part of a team
  • Effective communication and ‘people’ skills
  • If going into arboriculture – a head for heights and physical fitness
  • If promoting environmental conservation – the ability to explain technical and scientific issues to various audiences

Getting into environmental careers

  • Full time at College You will find a full range of Conservation, Countryside and Arboriculture courses at Derby College.
  • Apprenticeships Derby College offers an intermediate and an advanced apprenticeship in Environmental Conservation. These give you the opportunity to gain practical experience in this field, alongside a recognised qualification.
  • Higher education To do some roles in this sector – such as countryside officer – it is an advantage to have a relevant degree as competition for jobs is strong. You can take a full-time course or study part time alongside a job. Possible degree subjects might include Environmental Management, Ecology and Geography. It’s always helpful to get some work experience in your chosen area as well as gaining qualifications.
  • Jobs You can go straight into a post such as field, estate or forestry worker, then train on the job and complete work-based qualifications. Although there are no set academic entry requirements for a role such as arboricultural worker, employers might prefer people with some GCSEs. For many jobs in the sector, emphasis for entry is based on your skills, qualities and, importantly, any relevant experience you’ve had. You can gain such experience through taking a fulltime course or an apprenticeship. It is also helpful to build up practical experience by seeking out volunteering opportunities with organisations such as the National Trust, the Wildlife Trust and Groundwork.

Why choose Derby College?

conservation and countryside

  • You’ll develop your skills to a high standard at our Broomfield Hall Campus – a giant outdoor classroom rich with ancient woodlands, ornamental gardens, extensive farmland and rare plant specimens.
  • Hands-on estate skills, countryside tasks and operating land-based machinery feature in all our courses.
  • You can take part in ecological surveys, wildlife monitoring and countryside crafts like dry stone walling.
  • We offer work-related experience and fieldtrips to broaden your opportunities further still. 
  • Our staff are totally dedicated to your success – calling on their own vast experience within the conservation and countryside sector to inspire you. 

At Derby College, you’ll learn not only about working in the countryside but also about how the countryside works. You’ll be equipped for valuable roles in organisations ranging from national parks to government departments, environmental trusts to the voluntary sector.

Maths and English

You need English and maths skills to get on in life. They will support your studies at the College, help with everyday tasks and pave the way to future career success.

If you don’t already have a grade 4 or above in GCSE English and Maths – or equivalent qualifications – you will continue studying these subjects as part of your course at Derby College.

We’ll support you all the way: working with you on the right programme of development throughout your time with us.

You might also be interested in ...

When you’ve completed your course, why not broaden your horizons further still at Derby College? Additional qualifications in subjects such as Agriculture, Animal Care, Horse Care and Horticulture are exciting choices. Or check out our courses in Business, Enterprise and Management if you would like to set up a venture of your own.

Broomfield Hall Kestrel Cam

Conservation and Countryside News

Leo Kokoszko

Leo Kokoszko

Derby College confidence boost helps Leo seal dream Sea Life job

Wildlife enthusiast Leo Kokoszko loves his job working with seals and promoting marine conservation to visitors at Sea Life in Scarborough.But Leo, who has autism, doubts he would have been able to pursue his dream career without the help and support of staff at Derby College. Leo, who is 20 and from Heanor, first arrived at Derby College to study Animal Care as at that time in his life he wanted to be a police dog handler.After achieving levels 1 and 2, he enrolled on the college's Public Services course but didn't enjoy it. So Leo revised his plans and switched to the diploma in Countryside Management and Conservation course, which he loved.Leo, who is passionate about nature and wildlife, is also a keen birdwatcher. When he is not working at Sea Life, Leo also enjoys volunteering at RSPB Bempton Cliffs near Bridlington.He said

Working with seals is awesome – but I couldn't have done any of this without Derby College. I had hardly any self-confidence at all a few years ago. I wouldn't have been comfortable talking to groups of people like I do now. My college teachers have been so supportive – not just about my coursework but personally too. Their teaching style is informal – but in a good way.

Did you Know?

  • 75% of the conservation and countryside workforce has a degree
  • The trees and timber industry contributes more than £286 million to the UK economy
  • There are more than 3,000 forestry businesses across the UK, employing nearly 20,000 people
  • There are approximately 190,000 volunteers contributing to conservation projects in the UK
  • 44% of the trees and timber industry workforce is self-employed

Examples of recent vacancies locally

Tree surgeon
£16,000 per year starting salary.
Maintaining and protecting trees

Senior ecologist
£30,000-£40,000 per year.
Working on land management projects

Head forester
£31,000+ per year.
Managing forest operations

Experienced countryside ranger
Up to £30,000 per year.
Managing and promoting public access to the countryside

Site Information

Broomfield Hall

Courses in this area are run at our Broomfield Hall campus. About Broomfield Hall »

Useful Websites
Sector skills council for the land-based and environmental sectors
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Accommodation for Learners

We offer residential accommodation at Broomfield Hall for DerbyCollege learners. Find Out More »

Maths & English

Find out how Maths and English can benefit you.


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